After securing safe passage to the third round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, the Pilgrims’ focus returns to Sky Bet League One action, and the visit of Rochdale to Home Park on Tuesday night.
Ryan Lowe’s side bounced back from a difficult week on the road with a professional 2-0 victory over high-flying Lincoln City on Saturday, and they will be looking for more of the same during the visit of Brian Barry-Murphy’s Dale side.
Having been eliminated from the Emirates FA Cup by non-league Stockport County in the first round, the visitors arrive at Home Park having benefited from the rarest of privileges in the 20/21 season – a week off – and sit in 20th position in the League One table.
Last time out, a late Stephen Humphrys free-kick salvaged a 1-1 draw against Northampton Town at the Crown Oil Arena, but extended Dale’s winless run to seven games in all competitions.
Their last victory came at Montgomery Waters Meadow in late October, with Oliver Rathbone and Alex Newby on target in a 2-1 win over Shrewsbury Town. Three draws, against Sunderland, Bristol Rovers and the Cobblers, and two defeats, against Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon, have followed.
After 13 games back in the third tier of English football, the Greens are nestled inside the top-half of the table, on 11th place – just six points off the top six, with a game in hand.
Both squads seem to have emerged largely unscathed from the frantic start to the 20/21 campaign, although Dale are likely to be without experienced centre-half Paul McShane for the trip to Devon, while Manchester City loanee goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu remains doubtful with a finger injury.
ARGYLE AT HOME TO ROCHDALE IN THE EFL
The record: P 16 W 9 D 4 L 3 F 34 A 17
The first time: Division Three, 4 September, 1958. Argyle 2 Rochdale 1
Wilf Carter and Johnny Williams scored our goals in front of a crowd of 26,961, securing the win for Jack Rowley’s Pilgrims.
The last time: Sky Bet League One, 23 February, 2019. Argyle 5 Rochdale 1
Top scorer Freddie Ladapo gave Derek Adams’ men a first half lead, only for Matt Done to draw the Greater Manchester club level after 48 minutes.
Dale were then reduced to ten men when Ethan Ebanks-Landell was sent off for a handball offence. Ryan Edwards (61) restored our lead and Ladapo with his second of the afternoon made it 3-1 on 75 minutes.
Oscar Threlkeld (85) and Ashley Smith-Brown with his only goal for the Greens four minutes into second-half injury time completed the rout over Keith Hill’s side.
Biggest win: Division Three, 11 September, 1973. Argyle 5 Rochdale 0
Our biggest win over Dale came in the game that saw Paul Mariner make his Football League debut.
20-year-old Mariner gave a glimpse of what was to come with a brace in a 5-0 victory. The other scorers for Tony Waiters’ team were Johnny Hore, Alan Rogers and Steve Davey.
Most goals in a single game: Six, in our 5-1 win in 2019 (see above).
The fixture kicks off at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening, and is available to watch live through iFollow Argyle. Match passes cost £10. Click here to buy yours.